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The next day, we left for Kumbhalgarh Fort and Ranakpur, both places worth seeing. We were late in leaving Mountainridge, disinclined as were to first, get up early and then hurry up a leisurely breakfast. I was enjoying my umpteenth cup of excellent coffee, outside in the crisp morning air and the gentle morning sun when with a start I realized it was 10.30!

So we hurriedly left for Kumbhalgarh. Apart from the obvious historical value, Kumbhalgarh enjoys architectural fame as well. We were told that the wall around the Fort marking the city’s perimeter, at over 36 kms long, is second only to the great wall of China. Considering that the great wall of China is several thousand kms long, we figured that something was off somewhere. Nevertheless, there it is.

It is a hilly road to Kumbhalgarh and we reached at 1 pm. Kumbhalgarh is over 600 years old and is the birthplace of Maharana Pratap. It is a reasonably well preserved fort. We did a relaxed tour of the place and also took some excellent pictures. By then, it was already 2 p.m. and kinda late of we wanted to go to Ranakpur as well. So we left from there and decided to forgo lunch.

On the way to Ranakpur, we stopped at a tea stall in Saira village to grab some samosas on the go. But the chai walla ruefully told us that the samosas weren’t hot but there was a daal baati wala nearby if we were interested. We beat such a hasty retreat to the daal baati wala we left dust in our wake. The baatis were hot and fresh, the daal steaming, and in spite of our protests, the owner thoughtfully emptied a whole cup full of ghee in our plates. After partaking of this quick and yummy lunch (two plates for Rs. 30) we were once more en route to Ranakpur and reached at 3.30.

And the Ranakpur Jain temples (actually temple. There is only one ancient temple. The rest our later additions) are white marble with intricate carvings, especially on the ceiling, like the Dilwara temples in Mount Abu. Actually if you’re going onto, or have been to, Mount Abu you can give this one a miss.

The claim to fame of the Ranakpur temple is that it houses some 1400 plus intricately carved pillars and that no one has been able to accurately count the number subsequently. Apparently various methods have been employed, but no go. Each census has thrown up a mistake.

We probably faced maximum frisking here. I was impressed, till someone told me it’s only to see if you’re smuggling a camera you haven’t paid for inside. Trust the Jains to have their fundas right.

On the way back, we stopped at Swaroop Vilas on Fateh Sagar Lake to enquire about accommodation. We were booked into Moutainridge only up to the 2nd.  At the reception, we were told that the tariff was Rs. 3500 a night. I tried to bargain figuring that all tourist destinations in India must be facing a slack after the Mumbai attacks. Not so. Swaroop Vilas had only a couple of rooms empty and were in no mood to reduce their rates. So we said no thank you to the room. But we did say yes to some yummy Lal Maans and Gatte in their restaurant. All for the princely sum of Rs. 200. Then it was back to Mountainridge, a warm fire, alcoholic drinks and bed.

Kumbhalgarh Fort

Kumbhalgarh Fort

 

 

Pillars inside Ranakpur Temple

Pillars inside Ranakpur Temple

 

Ceiling - Ranakpur Temple

Ceiling - Ranakpur Temple

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